“The invention of the ship was also the invention of the shipwreck.”
Cultural theorist Paul Virilio used this analogy to relay in simplest terms what the casualty of progress can be. To be concise, no matter how good the going gets for anything, the bad is sure to be there, handcuffed forevermore as a lesson to us all that consequences are as death and taxes-sure as, well, death and taxes. Good and bad, they go hand in hand. And though good and bad are all relative concepts, after all, this outlook is absolutely true.
Let’s take this year, for example – 2015. Think about all of your progress – new jobs, new loves, graduations, births, anniversaries, milestone accomplishments – anything. Then, pinpoint what made you want such goals to be accomplished. More often than not, the want for improvement and progress is the solid basis for success. Yes, the want for the perfect scenario for yourself will lead to constant self improvement. Nothing wrong with that. However, the constant expectance of positive results coming free from the grasp of consequences is where things become unreasonable – for you and everybody else around you.
The realization and healthy acceptance of the bad always accompanying the good is actually a first step towards success. Because for as much progress that we made throughout this year, the guaranteed fails and losses we consequentially experienced are what made such progress that much sweeter. And it’s this taking the good with the bad approach that we should always slap ourselves back into reality with should we ever find ourselves tripping out whenever something isn’t exactly perfect or perfection isn’t happening quickly enough.
As a matter of fact, sometimes the speed with which we attain goals shouldn’t have to matter at all. Trust, speed bumps in the form of problems, setbacks, losses and failure will occasionally pave your road to success, and that’s fine. Show me a car’s suspension that fared well with a breakneck approach to a speed bump and I’ll throw all my money at you for it. Until then, slow down some to figure out how to maneuver through. The consequences of speeding far outweigh the fruits of success – it makes you focus on one thing at hand, like racehorses with blinders on. We lose lateral vision, fascinated and fixated on just one point. In this sense, our foresight is diminished, we lose our sense of awareness for what’s coming from at us from different angles, and we ultimately succumb to a larger failure than anticipated. So chill some. Let living take its course.
But did the first shipwreck ever scare away the next ship from setting sail? Was the finish line expecting to be crossed by just one runner? Do we completely give up walking after stumbling? Of course not. So let not any failure excuse you from your own success.
And as we close out this 2015, filled with all of our failures and successes, though now in the rear view, 2016 is waiting, greeting us with good and bad – it’s simply up to ourselves if our ship’s sails are ready to take us there.